Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rusty's Billiards VIPPP Party Video Tour

Rusty's Billiards (in Fort Worth, Texas) had their Quarterly VIPPP Party on Sunday.  Thought I'd do a video blog (vlog) of how happenin' the pool room is during one of these parties:  ring games, practicing, tournament, socializing, cookout, etc.  And you finally get to see which nine foot tables I practice on.  I know, I know... you all have been losing sleep on wondering what the table looks like.  ;)

Enjoy the tour!

Gabe Owen One Pocket DVDs

Gabe Owen, U.S. Open Champion and U.S. One Pocket Champion, has produced two new instructional One-Pocket DVDs called, One Pocket My Way

Gabe recently announced the news and I am very fortunate to be a part of this process.  Gabe is not only a personal friend of mine, I'm also his webmaster (yep, another website I maintain).  :)  The photos you see on the covers are from the Texas State Open of this year (Sept 2010) where Gabe placed 2nd (thank goodness I caught some good snapshots of him!).

The cover design is from his cousin who has helped such clients as Nike.  It is super sharp and snazzy!  I love the design.

Gabe and I recently updated his website to include the DVDs so you can find out more about the DVDs and if you are interested, then purchase them easily and securely through PayPal directly from his website.  (Sound familiar?  Yep, I just recently updated Phil Capelle's website similarly, also.) 

Gabe has two DVDs available - Beginner / Intermediate and Advanced.  I can't wait to check them out!  You neither?  Then check out the shipping info and even a teaser clip from the DVDs on his website:  http://www.gabeowen.net/onepocketdvds.html

Go ahead, tell him Trigger sent ya.  :)

[I don't get any special compensation or even brownies, but it would be cool for someone to use my nickname in a sentence.  ;) ]

Monday, November 29, 2010

BilliardsPress Website Updated

As many of you know, I am a webmaster for several websites.  Well, recently, I gave BilliardsPress.com a little update.  :)

Phil Capelle, well-known author of the Play Your Best Pool series, has a website (http://www.billiardspress.com/) that describes all his books and also provides an avenue to buy his books directly from him.

Because of technical issues, Phil and I decided to make an improvement to his website for you.  We thought it would be best to allow readers, fans, and students-of-the-game to be able to purchase books online via PayPal through his website. This is a pretty big change for us - before you could only use a credit card via an online form or send in a check.  Now you can use PayPal which allows for a safer and easier transaction for credit cards.

The update is timely, as this is the 15 Year Anniversary for Play Your Best Pool!  Read the Press Release here.

Check out the Paypal buttons:
(Click to enlarge)

BTW, every book is NOW IN STOCK (except Capelle on 9Ball, which should be soon).   These make great Holiday Gifts, if you don't already own them.  My favs are Play Your Best Pool and Play Your Best 8Ball out of all eight of his books.

Check out this link to use the new PayPal buttons!  (pats herself on the back)  :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rustys Night Out

I went to Rusty's Billiards on Tuesday (November 23). They were having a $1,000-a-ball break contest!  (read the rules here)

I just had to show up.  :)

While I was there, I saw Fred (the oldest pool player I know). He will be 90 in March!!  I interrupted his one pocket game to snap a photo with him. He calls me his girlfriend - luckily he likes younger women.  :)

Fred and I

My friend Brian won the tourney undefeated! (nice $100 win for me as I happened to pay his entry fee because he didn't want to break a $50 bill, so we split the first place winnings.  Yay!)

And Steve Game won $8,000 in the break contest!  (that's not a typo!)  Corey Anderson was drawn first but couldn't make the 1ball because it was too tricky-laying after the break.  Steve made a ball on the break and had a potential run but had to play smart to win it all  - and he did it!!  It was awesome to see someone win that much money like that.

Ashley and I sparred two sets but she started me drinking too early and she ran over me, lol.  But her and I had a fun night!

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Video of How to Use a Bridge

Just a suggestion I'm passing onto you that I learned from a friend a few years ago:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

MIP Thoughts

The "Most Improved Player" Award is a touchy little award to win. It's a valuable award to those who win it and to those who crave it. However, to those who think they should have won it, they feel defeated - even though they had a good year! 

Even if my friends do not set a goal to win MIP, it still hurts me deeply when they deserved the award but did not get it. To me, some recognition for being in contention when the MIP is announced is also warranted.  When that doesn't happen, it bothers me.  I do not know how they feel, but I personally know how tough it is to think you should win something and everyone else thinks so too, but then the close contenders aren't even mentioned as being in the running.

As a previous Board Member, I can state emphatically that deciding the MIP is NEVER an easy decision. The MIP award has so many facets to it. It's not simply, "Hey, who moved up the most this year in the ranking compared to the previous years?"

Attendance is considered, the number of top finishes are compared against all contenders, the number of times they have played on the tour, sportsmanship and attitude, and overall pool game improvements which includes skill, mental focus, and consistency over the years.

It's one of the most difficult choices! Also, the award is decided by ALL the board members, not just one person.

I do feel that each friend and fellow competitor who wins the Most Improved Player award are MUCH deserving of it! Don't misinterpret my comments. But I also have some heartache for my friends and fellow players who obviously also deserved the award.

In 1999, a fellow player on the Ladies Spirit Tour out of Florida shared very valuable information. I told Karen that my goal that year was to get MIP. Well, instead of supporting me, she got mad at me! She scowled, "how can you have a goal which you have absolutely NO control over!" I was taken aback, "huh?"

Although I HEARD her, I didn't listen. I STILL craved that award; I wanted it badly and worked my butt off that year.

And sure enough, I improved in the standings and even jumped up more than any other player that year, but yet I still didn't win the award! The Tour Directors knew how much I wanted that award, but they gave it to another player who also moved up in the rankings that year.

The Tour created a new award and called it something like "the Best All-Around Player." The description on the certificate read something like, "best dressed, most professional, most considerate and thoughtful player who has also improved."

I accepted the award with sincere disappointed and hurtfulness. I did NOT listen at all to Karen. :(

Can I hear her now when I feel sympathy for my friends who don't win the award?

Nope, not at all.  (Sorry, Karen!)  The hurt is still there for them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caught Me on Video!

One of my friends was trying out his new FlipVideo in Vegas and May.  I didn't know it, but he caught me in one of my matches at the BCAPL National 8Ball Championships!  He said he forgot what he had saved on the FlipVideo and recently just found this.

In the match, I was down 0-3 when Doug started taping.  I had ball-in-hand and was ready to run out when a ref was called to the table next to me.  I had to wait about 35 seconds before I could get back to analyze my shot.  That may not seem like a long time, but to anyone watching a 4-minute video, it can seem like forever.  lol.

But, I admit the rest of that game I did play prolly a little too slow.  However, because I was down 0-3, I had to play deliberate.  Additionally, I do tend to play 8ball timid when my confidence is low and because I was losing, it was being tested. :)  But, I saw the run, and ran out!

BTW, you can see at 40 seconds I am trying to look at the angle and the ref walks by and I have to move my cue or else I'd be in his way.  That is my "perturbed" move and you can even see me mumbling to myself.  haha.  Later in the vid, the refs walk by the table as I am down on some shots, but that didn't bother me at all because they weren't in my way so I just kept shooting.  I prolly didn't even see them then. 

Outcome:  Even though I was down 0-3, I came back and won that match 4-3!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tourney Conflict

For the first time in a while, I have a tournament conflict.  Boo-Hiss!  Two tournaments I am interested in are the same weekend...IN town.  Normally, if tournaments overlap the decision of which one to go to is pretty easy because they are in other cities.  So, I normally choose the city closest to me (I hate long drives).  Then, the type of tournament will help me narrow down my decision even further. If it's a Ladies Tour event or a BCAPL event or a State Tourney, I will choose them over a further-away event that only has a separate women's division on Sunday.  So, the decisions have been somewhat painless.

Well, there is finally a tournament conflict that was kinda a tough decision!  Don't get my wrong - the optimist in me is thrilled to have this "problem."  Nice that there will be tourneys in the area in December!

Courtesy of Mark Parisi

On December 11th, there is a Scotch Doubles tournament in Dallas.  I am so excited that I get to play in this tournament because it's gonna be fun with my Scotch Doubles partner, Brian.  We have the same style of play and I also learn a lot from him.  The tourney is 8ball, BCAPL rules.  I think we would race to 3 because of our skill levels (Master Teams would go to 5).

Right after Brian said he'd play in that tournament with me, I swear just a few hours later I received an invite via email to play in a straight pool tournament, which happens to also be IN town, AND the same day as the Scotch tourney. lol.  It's the first straight pool tourney I have heard about in the area for at least the last three years.  They quickly filled up 18 spots right away for the straight pool event (they are accepting 20 players and it would be handicapped).

While I wouldn't have PLAYED in it, I would have loved to watch the straight pool matches all day long. Many of the top tiered players have signed up and that would be a great treat to watch and learn from so many of them. 

But, I have a wonderful plan!  After doing well in the Scotch Doubles tourney in Dallas, we will then drive to the Fort Worth area to finish watching the straight pool tourney! Then at 9pm a local band (who we know the bandmates) will be playing and we will finish the day off watching and listening to them. I can't wait!

What tourney conflict?  ;)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Did It!

WOW, I did it!

As you may recall, I was wondering if I would still be in the top ten of the year-end rankings of the OB Cues Ladies Tour by the end of the season because I had to miss the last two stops.

I found out this week I finished the season ranked 8th!!

This means for the last 9 years I have been ranked in the TOP TEN 8 times!  SO glad I place 4th twice this year which surely help me secure the top ten ranking, right?

Yay! I'm so excited!

 (click to enlarge)

Monday, November 15, 2010

November PoolSynergy

Founding Father of PoolSynergy, John Biddle, is hosting PoolSynergy's anniversary month (November) and his topic is:: "Three Tips." Each contributor is to write up a post containing 3 tips related to pool, preferably of the same general classification.

Same classification?  Oh, wow, toughie....

Well, here it goes:

I think it's very important to prepare for the UNKNOWN conditions of your tournament BEFORE you get to the tournament. Specifically, these unknowns:

1. Equipment
2. Temperature
3. Surroundings

What?  How can I prepare for the conditions before I'm even at the pool room, or have practiced on the table to see how it rolls?... you might be asking yourself.

Let me 'Esplain:

You should be aware and be prepared that the equipment may not be the best.  To help combat your frustrations with non-perfect tables, consider that everyone is playing under the same conditions.  Yes, we would like pristine conditions, but let's be realistic - there may be holes in the cloth, dead rails, plastic/clumsy racks/pockets, bad lightning.  I have played in a pool tournament with all of these conditions on one table before!  If you let yourself get upset over these things (things which you can't control), then you are not focusing on pool.  You are letting things interfere with your pool game that has nothing to do with being mentally able to focus completely on the task at hand.

Same for the temperature in the pool room.  Be prepared that some pool rooms get exceptionally cold or hot!  Bring an extra sweater or over shirt with sleeves as a backup in case the room is cold.  Better to have this as a backup than you not being able to play because your arms are frozen.  In the Summer in Texas, sometimes the A/C breaks or freezes and it gets hotter inside than out (no joke).  We play in these conditions a lot, believe it or not.  If you are consumed with negative thoughts about how damn hot it is, then you aren't focusing on pool again.  Don't let the negative energy of being upset about something YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER affect your pool game.

Now for the atmosphere - you never really know what you might be getting into.  Even if you've played in this particular tourney 1,000 times, maybe this time there is a heckler, or they get a new waitress who is the worst server ever, or the guys on the next table are clueless and keep getting in your way when you shoot.  Be prepared for everything; for anything.  Know that things may not be perfect; accept that!  Accept that you have no control over your surroundings.  When you do, then you can instead focus on playing your best pool, so the distractions do not become a negative and interfere with your matches.

Nothing is worse than distractions affecting your mental game.  Distractions are negative emotions that cause negative thoughts which leads to not thinking clearly which causes tenses muscles and your fundamentals become affected.  Negative thoughts and emotions CAN be tamed.  These tips above can help if you practice them.

The whole point of this blog entry is to help remind us to not let things bother us that we cannot control.  If you accept that things may go wrong and NOT let them bother you, you can then focus on playing pool; your best ability to play pool.  Don't let any of the above become YOUR excuse for losing.  Or for not playing your best.  Before you set foot into the pool room to play in the tourney, already be prepared for the unknown distractions so you can PLAY POOL with a clear, positive, strong mind.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Offended Again

Thursday was Veteran's Day and since my job is with the government, it was a Federal Holiday for us. Little 'ole me had the day off! :)

After visiting Mom in the hospital, I decided to get some things accomplished and finally got my brakes worked on. Well, the brake place just happened to be a block and a half from the sister pool room I normally practice at. I just also happened to have my pool cue with me. :)

After the response of, "it could take 2-4 hours" from the man in the green work clothes at the brake place, I grabbed my cue, walked down the street, and voila! - during the afternoon of this fine day, a 9foot table was open for me!

Four of the other five 9foot tables were taken and although I only knew the guys working there, I hardly knew anyone else that day since it's not my normal "hang out."

I practiced 10ball by myself for about 45 minutes when the inevitable happened: Someone approached me to practice.

After I cleared the rack, I walked to the end of the table to set the balls out from the ball-return Gold Crown when I hear a voice behind me:

"Hi there"

"Oh, hey."

"You playing ten ball?"


"Um, yes."

"Do you want me to hit balls with you?"

"Nah, no thanks" I reply as I'm just about finished racking for my break.

"Oh, okay."

He turns his back on me, slinks away, and mutters "I can play, ya know."

OMG, really?

Why get offended when someone doesn't want to practice? Seriously. I was practicing by myself for 45 minutes just fine.

Did I look like I needed to play someone? no.

Did I look over at him like I wanted him to practice with me? no.

Was I rude when I said I didn't want to practice with him? no.

Could I have explained I always practice alone so his little feelings didn't get hurt. sure.

"I can play, ya know."


Friday, November 12, 2010

I Got Another Invite!

I received this from the WPBA last night (ironically I received the email on my phone right in the middle of my practice session with fellow shooter, Ms. Ashley Nandrasy).

It said:

Hi Melinda,

This is to let you know that you are on the waiting list for an opening at the Tour Championship in Niagara. At this time, there are a couple of players ahead of you. Please review the information and let me know if you have any questions. If you are invited, I will need an answer asap.

Wow!  Did I really get another invite to a WPBA event??  It might seem minor to you all, but it's pretty cool that I attended that WPBA pro event in July and now I received this invite.

However, I will have to pass.  :(  Too close to make all the arrangements (Dec 1 is the Player's Meeting) and I bet the flight is super expensive for this last minute decision.

Still, I'm SO flattered!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Are the Ranking Chances?

I have alluded that my Mom hasn't been doing well in a few blog entries.  This week is the 6th week of a long set of in and out hospital stays for her.  Well, her advanced emphysema and heart disease has forced her back in the hospital this week.  :(

I therefore wont even fathom going to the OB Cues Ladies tourney this weekend.  The Season Finale (I like to call it that - kind of like a cool tv show!) is this weekend at Casper's Billiards.  Watch the stream and follow my/your friends!

In the meantime, I couldn't help but notice the rankings today while I put in a few hours at work.  I am currently ranked 7th.  I am quite proud of my top ten ranking (yet again), but I wonder if by the end of the tourney this weekend I will still be in the top ten?  Will my two 4th place finishes from earlier in the year (wait, I had two?  cool!) help me stay in the top ten if I miss my second stop of the year this weekend?

Here is a snap shot of the current rankings:  (click to enlarge or go to this link before next week when they get updated)

It's gonna be close.  If the three below me pass me up, which Michelle can just by showing up, but if all three do that, then I will be ranked 10th.  If anyone else passes me, though, I'll be knocked down outta the top ten for the 2nd time in 9 years.  I'm not wishing ill-play on any of my friends, mind you, but the pride to be in the top ten is a powerful little drug.

Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself at the last stop to do well to remain in the top ten (which I somehow managed) but this year I have no control over the outcome because I wont be there.  It kinda reminds me of the BCS - where someone else needs to lose so the other team goes up in the rankings.  Just as them, I have no control over this what-so-ever, except hope and pray my previous performances are enough.

We shall see. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Victory Poses Wish

I was SO hoping AZBilliards.com would get a Victory V Pose of the winner of the Steve Mizerak Championship this past weekend so we could have THREE Victory V Poses on the three windows on the front page of AZB. 

The Victory V Pose?  You know.... when after a huge win the champion throws their arms up the air with excitement, almost in the shape of a V.  See Darren Appleton and Jasmin Ouschan below for the perfect Victory V pose after their very successful recent wins. 

It would have been so cool if we had a Victory V Pose of the eventual winner, Mr. Earl Strickland (congrats, Earl, btw) to add to the Victory V Pose gallery that was abound on the front page.  But alas... :(

I contacted Mike Howerton (my partner at AZB) and he said he had hoped to get a trophy shot of Earl from the Seminole Tribe, but they hadn't sent him a pic yet.  Dang... I was hoping!  Three Victory V Poses would have looked awesome on AZBilliards.com.

It would have made for a better blog entry, too, lmao. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cool Straight Pool Shirt

My friend Jack made this cool Straight Pool t-shirt and he graciously gave me one to showcase:

Jack shared, "I had some t-shirts made up with a large Backwards facing ? mark with 14.1 under it.  For those that do not know-the backwards ? mark is a punctuation mark meant to symbolize a rhetorical question. I figured those that know 14.1 would see the rhetoric!"


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oooh, I'd Be Pissed

A friend of mine emailed me earlier today and asked me when I was going to arrive at the tourney this week.  I told him, "uh, the tourney was cancelled."

It got me thinking - I wonder how many times this occurs and how many people have been on the receiving end of driving all the way to a tourney and then when they get there, come to find out it was canceled.

Some events you pay in advance - those are the ones most likely (imho) to be canceled.  But those same events also allow signups on-site... meaning the peeps that decide to pay when they get to the event wouldn't have been notified like I was, because I paid in advance and the event promoter called all the players who had signed up already.

I think I'd be pretty dang pissed if I drove all the way to a tourney, even took days or hours off of work to attend an event, and then when you show up no one is there.  That is a lot of wasted time and energy!

There are some events that guarantee they will still have an event no matter how many players.  Then there are some like this past weekend who only had 9 players show up and they didn't have the event because their "minimum number of players policy" was not met.  I would have been upset if I would have driven all the way down there and that would have happened.

You have to realize in the big state of Texas that it's not a simple little drive to other happenin' cities to go to pool tournaments.  If I was to drive an hour to Dallas and an event was cancelled, I'd only be perturbed.  But driving over 3 hours for nothing would seriously put me in a crappy mood.

Some cancellations can't be helped - lack of participation and lack of players showing up.  But for me, it's more the notification process of canceled events that needs to be better.  Then there'd be less perturbed, ticked-off, pissed players who wasted their time.

Mind you, this isn't commonplace practice here in Texas very often, but the few times it has happened always makes us all scratch our heads and go, "hmmm..."

Btw, last year I planned to go to Reno in August.  I paid my entry, bought my plane ticket, and a few weeks before the event, SLAM.  Event canceled.  Sure, I got notified and my entry fee returned, but I had an unused, paid ticket to Reno that I was out.

Another time about five year ago, my friend Lisa Marr drove from Arkansas to Houston to attend a new ladies tour event but it was cancelled at the last minute.  How was she suppose to know?  Even IF the tour had put something on their website, who goes to the website the day before an event?

Ahhh... the trials and tribulations of cancelled tournaments.